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O F 





Ph.D. Harvard University 



Printed and made in Great Britain 

for the Nonesuch Press &nd the 

Harvard University Press by 

R. & R. Clark Limited, 



The Introduction . . . Page 7 

The Death of Christopher Marlowe Page 9 

A Certificate from the Privy Council Page 57 

The Conclusion .... Page 65 

Appendix Page 69 

The Notes Page 75 



Pardon granted to Ingram Frizer for 
the death of Christopher Marlowe. 
Patent Rolls 1401 . . Frontispiece 

View of Deptford, in Kent. From an 

eighteenth-century print . . Page 15 

Entry of Marlowe's burial. Extract 
from the register of St. Nicholas 
Church, Deptford . To face page SI 

A Map of Deptford, 1623. From an 
original pen-and-ink sketch by John 
Evelyn, Esqr. .... Page 43 

London and part of Kent in 1596. 
From ''A New Description of Kenf 
"by P. Symonson of Rochester . 


SELDOM is it the good fortune of any scholar, young 
or old, to make so remarkable a find as that which Mr. 
Hotson modestly chronicles in this book, and the alert 
ingenuity that detected and followed the clue removes the 
discovery from the class of happy accidents. The mystery 
of Marlowe"* s death, heretofore involved in a cloud of con- 
tradictory gossip and irresponsible guess-work, is now 
cleared up for good and all on the authority of public 
records of complete authenticity and gratifying fulness. 
Every detail of the strange affair is vividly set forth on 
the testimony of eyewitnesses. Incidentally Mr. Hotson 
has unearthed many curious particulars as to the character 
and station of the man who struck the fatal blow. And 
finally he has added a chapter to the history of the poet's 
early life which of itself makes a substantial contribution 
to knowledge. It is a privilege to introduce such a book 
to the reader, whom, however, I must no longer detain on 
the threshold. 




O F 



THE LIFE AND DEATH of Christopher Marlowe 
make one of the few dramas in our history which 
satisfy Aristotle's definition of tragedy. There is pity 
in the violent death that cut down such a tall genius in 
its youth, and terror for the faithful in the reasoned 
denial of God of which men whispered that the man 
was guilty. For three hundred years the tragedy of 
Marlowe has aroused a widespread interest. Curious 
fancy has spun unnumbered webs of theory round about 
the meagre accounts which have come down to us. 


To the world interested in Marlowe, the present study 
offers for the first time the only authoritative report 
which tells how, when, and at whose hands Christopher 
Marlowe met his death. But, before the documents are 
brought forward, it will not be out of place to recall the 
main recorded events of the poet's life. 

Christopher Marlowe came into the world at Canter- 
bury on or about February 6, 1564, son to John Mar- 
low of the Shoemakers' Guild. Shortly before the boy's 
fifteenth birthday, he entered upon a scholarship in 
the King's School, Canterbury, at the quarterly stipend 
of one pound. Two years later (1580-81), after pro- 
ceeding to Cambridge, he was elected to a scholarship 
on Archbishop Matthew Parker's foundation at Corpus 
Christi (Bene't) College, where he took the bachelor's de- 
gree in 1583-4 and commenced Master of Arts in 1587. 

Going up to London, Marlowe attached himself to 
the Lord Admiral's Company, for which he composed 
the greater part of his plays. He enjoyed the friendship 
and protection of Mr. Thomas Walsingham, of Sir 
Thomas Walsingham his son, and of Sir Walter Ralegh; 
and stood high in the brilliant group of poetical wits of 
Elizabeth's London. He was accused, with some show of 
reason, of uttering atheistical discourse. He was not> 
however, convicted of the crime of holding atheism as a 
creed, although his appearance upon summons before 
the Privy Council in May, 1593, had perhaps something 
to do with the charge. 
May, 1593, brings us to the very month of the poet's 

premature death. Even in the perilous days of Elizabeth, 
the taking-off of Christopher Marlowe was notable for 
its tragic violence. Pamphleteers of a homiletic turn 
dwelt upon the awfulness of God's sudden hand upon 
this man who had ventured to doubt and deny. And in 
the course of the three centuries and a quarter that have 
gone since Kit Marlowe died, more than one writer has 
taken his imagination out for a canter over the story 
of his end. An account of the early reports published, 
and of some of the exploits achieved by the historian's 
fancy, will be not less amusing than instructive. 
A proper beginning was made by Thomas Beard in his 
Theatre of Gods Judgements (1597), 1 a cento of terrific 
obituaries which exhibit God as almightily vindictive. 
In Chapter XXV, Marlowe comes in for the following: 
"Not inferiour to any of the former in Atheisme & im- 
piety, and equall to all in maner of punishment was 
"one of our own nation, of fresh and late memory, called 
"Marlin [marginal note: Marlow], by profession a schol- 
"ler, brought vp from his youth in the Vniuersitie of 
"Cambridge, but by practise a playmaker, and a Poet of 
"scurrilitie, who by giuing too large a swinge to his owne 
"wit, and suffering his lust to haue the full raines, fell 
"(not without iust desert) tothatoutrageand extremitie, 
"that hee denied God and his sonne Christ, and not only 
"in word blasphemed the trinitie, but also (as it is cred- 
ibly reported) wrote books against it, affirming our 
"Sauiour to be but a deceiuer, and Moses to be but a 
"coniurer and seducer of the people, and the holy Bible 


"to be but vaine and idle stories, and all religion but a 
"deuice of pollicie. But see what a hooke the Lord put 
"in the nosthrils of this barking dogge: It so fell out, that 
"in London streets as he purposed to stab one whome hee 
"ought a grudge vnto with his dagger, the other party 
"perceiuing soauoided the stroke, that withall catching 
"hold of his wrest, he stabbed his owne dagger into his 
"owne head, in such sort, that notwithstanding all the 
"meanes of surgerie that could be wrought, hee shortly 
"after died thereof. The manner of his death being so 
"terrible (for hee euen cursed and blasphemed to his 
"last gaspe, and togither with his breath an oth flew 
"out of his mouth) that it was not only a manifest 
"signe of Gods iudgement, but also an horrible and 
"fearefull terrour to all that beheld him. But herein 
"did the iustice of God most notably appeare, in that 
"hee compelled his owne hand which had written those 
"blasphemies to be the instrument to punish him, and 
"that in his braine, which had deuised the same. I 
"would to God (and I pray it from my heart) that all 
"Atheists in this realme, and in all the world beside, 
"would by the remembrance and consideration of this 
"example, either forsake their horrible impietie, or that 
"they might in like manner come to destruction: and 
"so that abominable sinne which so flourisheth amongst 
"men of greatest name, might either be quite extin- 
guished and rooted out, or at least smothered and kept 
"vnder, that it durst not shew it head any more in the 
"worlds eye." 


This version was abridged by Edmund Rudierde in 
The Thunderbolt of Gods Wrath against Hard-Hearted 
and stiffe-necked sinners (1618), Chapter XXII: 
"We read of one Martin, a Cambridge Scholler, who was 
"a Poet, and a filthy Play-maker, this wretch accounted 
"that meeke seruant of God Moses to be but a Coniurer, 
"and our sweete Sauiour but a seducer and a deceiuer of 
"the people. But hark en yee braine-sicke and prophane 
"Poets, and Players, that bewitch idle eares with foolish 
"vanities: what fell vpon this prophane wretch, hauing 
"a quarrell against one whom he met in a streete in Lon- 
"don, and would haue stabd him: But the partie per- 
"ceiuing his villany preuented him with catching his 
"hand, and turning his owne dagger into his braines, 
"and so blaspheming and cursing, he yeelded vp his 
"stinking breath: marke this yee Players, that Hue by 
"making fooles laugh at sinne and wickednesse." 

Francis Meres also used Beard's relation in his Palladia 
Tamia (1598): 

"As lodelle, a French tragical poet beeing an Epicure, 
"and an Atheist, made a pitifull end: so our tragicall 
"poet Marlow for his Epicurisme and Atheisme had a 
"tragicall death; you may read of this Marlow more at 
"large in the Theatre of Gods iudgments, in the 25. 
"chapter entreating of Epicures and Atheists." 

To this, Meres added a few details, drawn, apparently, 
from contemporary gossip: 

"As the poet Lycophron was shot to death by a certain 
"riual of his: so Christopher Marlow was stabd to death 


"by a bawdy Seruing man, a riuall of his in his lewde 

* The report of Marlowe's lewdness, with which Meres 
had fattened his account, seemed so pleasing and plaus- 
ible to Anthony a Wood, who was writing his Athenae 
Oxonienses (1691) almost a century later, that he added 
it (somewhat heightened, it is true) to his copy of Beard^s 
classic narrative: 

"But see the end of this Person, which was noted by all, 
"especially the Precisians. For it so fell out, that he be- 
"ing deeply in love with a certain Woman, had for his 
"Rival a bawdy serving-man, one rather fit to be a Pimp, 
"than an ingenious Amoretto as Mario conceived himself 
"tobe. Whereupon Mario taking it to be an high affront, 
"rushed in upon, to stab, him, with his dagger: But the 
"serving-man being very quick, so avoided the stroke, 
"that withal catching hold of Mario's wrist, he staVd his 
"own dagger into his own head, in such sort, that not- 
"withstanding all the means of surgery that could be 
"wrought, he shortly after died of his Wound, before 
"the year 1593." 2 

Meanwhile, in 1600, only seven years after the event, 
William Vaughan had published a rather different and 
more circumstantial story in his Golden Grove, which 
Wood evidently had not seen: 

"Not inferiour to these was one Christopher Marlow by 
"profession a playmaker, who, as it is reported, about 
"7. yeeres a-goe wrote a booke against the Trinitie: but 

"see the effects of Gods iustice; it so hapned, that at 


View ofDtptfordt in Kent. 

"Detford, a little village about three miles distant from 
"London, as he meant to stab with his ponyard one 
"named Ingram, that had inuited him thither to a feast, 
"and was then playing at tables, he quickly perceyuing 
"it, so auoyded the thrust, that withall drawing out his 
"dagger for his defence, hee stabd this Marlow into the 
"eye, in such sort, that his braines comming out at the 
"daggers point, hee shortlie after dyed. Thus did God, 
t4 the true executioner of diuine iustice, worke the ende 
"of impious Atheists." 

For more than a hundred years after Anthony a Wood 
the stories were repeated without any significant ad- 
dition, and memory of Elizabethan times was grown 
so dim in certain quarters that men even questioned 
the fact that Marlowe had ever existed. But in 1820 
James Broughton, the literary antiquary, on ruminat- 
ing Vaughan's detailed account of the matter, conceived 
the practical notion of writing down to the parson of the 
church at Deptford to see if by any chance a record of 
Marlowe's burial had been preserved there. He was "Sur- 
prised and gratified to receive the following reply: 

Extract from the Register of Burials in the Parish of 
St. Nicholas, Deptford: 

1st June, 1593. Christopher Mwlow,3lainetyFfranr 
cis Archer. 

A True Copy JD. Jones > MMster? 

While this discovery showed that Marlowe was indeed 
more than a myth, and corroborated Vaughan's state- 
ment as to where the slaying took place, it added a com- 


plication in the name of the slayer. Vaughan had named 
him as 4 one Ingram 1 , whereas from the burial register 
D. Jones, Minister, read Tfrancis Archer*. 

With the tremendous growth of interest in the Eliza- 
bethan drama which the last century has witnessed, 
historians of literature have had good exercise on the 
circumstances of Marlowe's death. An excellent digest 4 
of the scholarly fancy expended on the matter has been 
made by J. Le Gay Brereton, of which one or two ex- 
tracts will serve to show the drift: 
"Though his [Marlowe^s] disgraceful life must have 
"brought him almost to the sink of beggary, he was so 
"foolishly ostentatious that, as Mr. Oliphant Smeaton 
"has recently been able to assure us, he maintained a ser- 
"vant one Francis Ingram, a fellow whose character 
"was no better than that of his master. Mr. F. Meres 
"bluntly describes Ingram as c a bawdy serving-man"*, and 
"we have Mr. Watts-Dunton's authority for calling him 
"a villain. His duties were various. The brothers Dido 
"define him generally as ^un Jiomme en IwrSe* and perhaps 
"Mr. Pinkerton means much the same when he desig- 
"nates him a lackey. M. F.V. Hugo and M. Mziferes add 
"little by describing him as ''wi valet\ but Mr. Kingsley 
"distinctly tells us that he performed the tasks of a foot- 
"man, and Mr. Arthur A. D. Bayldon adds the informa- 
tion that he combined them with the humble offices of a 
"scullion. Obviously he was a man of all work. At home 
"he probably cooked the dinner and washed the dishes, 
"an4 perhaps descended to jobs of an even humbler and 


"moreunpleasantnature. Undoubtedly he brushed from 
"Marlowe's hose the mire of the London kennels, and 
"sponged from his doublet the stains of grease and 
"sack. . . . 

"Marlowe was in love with a woman who played him 
"false ('comme Shakespeare, comme Moliere, et comme 
"tant 6?autres> remarks M. Hugo). His choice of an 
"object for his contemptible affections was character- 
istic. M. Taine, in referring to the lady, uses lan- 
guage which we cannot permit ourselves to repeat, 
"and Mr. Pinkerton and others merely indulge in less 
"offensive synonyms. The brothers Dido discreetly 
"suggest that she was ^unefille de basse condition*. Can 
"we be surprised that the infidel roue* had a rival? 
"His rival was Francis Ingram. . . . 
"We may surmise that, one day towards the end of 
"May, 1593, Ingram had plotted to meet his stolen 
"lady-love at a tavern in Deptford rather a low-class 
"tavern. <*Un mauvais lieu? cries M. Hugo; ^Un mau- 
"vais lieu? corroborates M. Mfeieres; and M. Texte 
"re-echoes the charge, ^Un mauvais lieu''. A British 
"jury must agree that on such a point the evidence of 
"three Frenchmen is invaluable. Mr. Pinkerton brands 
"the establishment with a very unpleasant name. At any 
"rate the house was hardly respectable. It was the kind 
"of place where they sell bad beer." 

Novelists and playwrights have not been tardier than 
the diligent historians in seizing their opportunity. 
Stories and plays on Marlowe and his lamentable exit 


have flowed from their pens in variegated colours of 
improbability. A baker's dozen at the least have been 
published, from Tieck's Dichterleben (1826), in which 
Marlowe is slain by Ingeram, a rustic Yorkshire foot- 
man, to Clemence Dane's Will Shakespeare (1922), in 
which Marlowe is accidentally killed in the third act, 
and Ernest Milton's piece (1924), wherein Marlowe re- 
ceives a mortal wound in the Mermaid Tavern while 
killing the murderer of a pure and innocent girl. The 
unfortunate poet and his slayer have universally been 
regarded as fair game for invention. 
Yet, apart from the frankly fanciful writings, no great 
harm would have been done to literary history if the 
scholars had at least been more careful to ascertain the 
name of Marlowe's slayer. For as a matter of fact the 
man's name as entered in the burial register was not 
Archer, but Frezer. Alexander Dyce, however, in his 
edition of Marlowe (1850, 1858), adopted the Archer 
reading, and he has been followed by the great majority 
of writers. Halliwell-Phillipps was apparently the first 
to think of examining the entry for himself. He read 
the name asffrezer (that is, Frezer). Drake's edition of 
Hasted's Kent (1886), in the compiling of which many 
original records were examined, also reads Frezer. In 
1898 a certain W. G. Zeigler published a theory of Mar- 
lowe's death which outdoes all others for unfettered 
whimsicality, entitled It was Marlowe (sc. who killed 
Frazer and wrote Shakspere under Frazer's name until 
he in turn was murdered by Ben Jonson in 1598), Zeigler 





z < 


O * 
^ I 



gave another Deptford minister, one W. Chandler, as 
his authority for the Frazer reading. 

In spite of the palpable jar between the c Archer' and 
"Frezer 1 camps, Sir Sidney Lee, writing on Marlowe in 
the Dictionary of National Biography, did not feel 
equal to throwing the weight of his authority on either 
side. He therefore left the question in the air, where it 
remains in the 1910 edition of the Dictionary. The 
most questionable treatment of this point, however, is 
to be found in John H. Ingrain's Christopher Marlowe 
and his Associates (1904). In this work the author pub- 
lished an excellent facsimile of the page in the Deptford 
register (which I reproduce here), and transcribed the 
famous entry for the convenience of the unskilled reader 

Christopher Marlowe, slain byffrancis Archer, sepultus 
1. of June. 

In this transcription is exhibited not only a profound 
ignorance of a very plain Elizabethan hand, but also 
a reprehensible faculty for invention. Mr. Ingram not 
only read jfrezer as Archer, although theffofjffrezer is 
patently similar to the ff of the preceding vroidjffrancis 
and totally different from the A of Alexander in the next 
line, while the z is quite unlike any h on the page, but 
coolly invented sepultus and foisted it upon the public 
in the place of the actual the. In a single line, which 
should read 

Christopher Marlow slaine by jfrancis ffrezer; the ! of 

Mr. Ingram has achieved at least six errors. It is com- 
forting to find that a Belgian scholar, M. Logeman, has 
laboured to repair the damage done to truth in the 
foregoing transcription by an expostulatory article in 
Anglia (1914). 

The facsimile, read intelligently, at length disposes of 
the fc Archer' myth. There never was an Archer who had 
anything to do with Marlowe's death. 

In the Trezer' camp, moreover, there is a strong tend- 
ency to gloze Frezer as Fraser or Frazer. This is a mis- 
take. Frezer, which is pronounced to rime with Caesar, 
is a name totally different from Fraser, and one which 
has no connection with a Scottish clan. Frezer, or Frizer 9 
is an occupational name, designating one who friezes 
cloth or covers it with a nap. Under/H0*0r the New Eng- 
lish Dictionary quotes passages which mention t frizers 
and tesellers' (1485), ^heermen or Frizers' (1565), and 
c drapers, cottoners,and frizers' (1871). There is no need 
or excuse for calling in a Scots clan to back the Frizers. 
They bear a name fully as honest and authentic as do 
the Teazles, the Drapers, or the Shermans. 

When all that is superfluous and misleading has been 
cleared away from the problem, the data reappear. In 
the first place, it is certain that Marlowe met his death at 
Deptford in Kent before June 1, 1593; and in the second 
place it is clear that the only two names for his assailant 
which have a right to be considered are Vaughan's c one 
Ingram' and the Trancis Frezer' of the burial register. 
Of the two, fc Frezer' is doubtless the more trustworthy. 


The foregoing considerations were in my mind during 
a recent search which I made (though for ends quite 
different) among the Elizabethan documents preserved 
in the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane. As I 
turned over the leaves of the Calendar of Close Rolls, 
my eye fell upon the name Ingram Frizer. I felt at once 
that I had come upon the man who killed Christopher 
Marlowe. Vaughan's c one Ingram' was instantly clear as 
an example of the same habit of nomenclature which 
referred to Gabriel Spencer, Ben Jonson's adversary, 
as fc one Gabriel 1 ; and I could only suppose (since the 
coincidence of two names so rare as Ingram and Frizer 
was in such a degree striking) that the '"Francis"' of the 
burial register was a blunder. But the Close Rolls entry 
merely mentioned Ingram Frizer as a party to the trans- 
fer of a small piece of property, and gave me no clue to 
the crime. 

Armed with a presentiment, I set out on the path 
which (as I feared) had been followed so often before 
that leading toward some possible vestige of the official 
record of the Marlowe murder case. The printed In- 
quisitions Post Mortem yielded nothing, and I turned to 
the criminal records of the Court of the Queen's Bench 
for 35 Elizabeth (1593), in the hope that the case might 
have been brought to London for trial; but, in spite of 
an arduous and eye-wearying hunt, there was no indict- 
ment of Frizer to be found. The Rolls of the Assizes on 
the South-Eastern Circuit for the same year promised 
well, being covered with thick black dust, and abounding 


in Kentish gaol deliveries and criminal inquisitions post 
mortem; but Marlowe and Frizer were nowhere in them. 

These cold faults on the trail were not a little dis- 
heartening. And since the Assize Rolls were incom- 
plete and in part illegible, I was much afraid that the 
quarry was lost. 

Yet) on casting about once more, it suddenly occurred 
to me that one of the numerous classes of entry on the 
Patent Rolls of the Chancery was pardons. If, as the 
ancient pamphleteers had said, the killing had been 
done in self-defence, then perhaps and I turned to the 
original manuscript index and calendar of the Patent 
Rolls for 35 Elizabeth. A brief search yielded the follow- 

J?egina xxviij die Junij concessit Ingramo ffrisar p&- 

don&m de se defendendo, 
which may be put into English roughly as 

The Queen 28th day of June granted pardon to Ingram 

jjrisar [sc. for homicide] in self-defence. 
This pardon was issued just four weeks after Marlowe's 

Although it was too late in the day when I ran the 
calendared entry down for me to see the Patent Roll 
to which it referred before the next morning, I had no 
doubt that the document would prove to be a pardon 
for the slayer of Christopher Marlowe. The only ques- 
tion was, how much detail would it give? 

More than gratifying was it, then, when I opened the 
Roll on the following day, to find not only that it was 


indeed Frizer^s pardon for having killed Kit Marlowe, 
but also that the pardon exactly rehearsed the terms of 
the Coroners inquest, telling in detail the story of the 
fatal affray. 

But that was not all. The fact that the pardon was 
included among the Chancery enrolments gave me a 
further clue. If the pardon was in Chancery, the writ 
of summons and a copy of the Coroner's inquest (upon 
the basis of which the pardon was granted) should be 
there as well. Yet I had already searched the Chancery 
Inquisitions Post Mortem in vain. As a last resort, I 
took up the (modern) manuscript calendar of the Mis- 
cellany of the Chancery. Here the documents listed, 
as the title gave warning, were highly miscellaneous 
both in nature and in date. They ranged from Edward 
I to Charles I and back again, and the only classifica- 
tion was by county. Nevertheless, by examining every 
item listed under Kent, I found at length what I wanted. 
The writ and inquisition were preserved, and in a 
legible condition. My search was now nearly at an end. 
One more document remained to seek: that is, Frizer's 
petition or bill to bring his cause into Chancery. Unfor- 
tunately such petitions were not so carefully preserved 
as the copies of proceedings upon them, and Frizer's 
prayer to the Lord Chancellor is not to be found in the 
collection of Ancient Petitions. 

With this minor exception, there is here the complete 
record of the legal proceedings which followed the slay- 
ing of Christopher Marlowe. The findings upon oath of 


the Coroner's sixteen men, the writ of certiorari to sum- 
mon the case into Chancery, and the resulting pardon. 
Taking the case up in its order as a Chancery Proceed- 
ing, we have first the writ: 

"Elizabeth dei gratia Anglie Branch & Hib^rn^ Re- 
"gina fidei defensor &c Dilecto nobis Willelmo Danbye 
"Generoso Coronatori hospicij ntatfri salwtem Volentes 
"ctfrtis de causis cmuorari super quodam indicrfamento 
"facto coram te de morte Cristoferi Morley super visum 
"corporis eiusdem Cristoferi apud Detforde Strande in 
"Comitatu nostro Kancia infra virgam iacentffo mortui 
"et intzrfecti vnde quidam Ingramus ffrysar nup^r de 
"Londonia Genm>sus indic^atus est prout p^r recor- 
"dum inde coram te residenttfw plene liquet Ac si idem 
"Ingramus fitysar pra^dicfa/m Cristoferwm se defend- 
"endo & non per feloniam aut ex malicia pra^cogitata 
"ita quod mortem suam propriam alit^r euadere non 
"potuit int^rfecit necne Tibi praecipimus quod ten- 
u orem indictfamenti praedicti cum omnibus illud tan- 
"geutibus quibuscumqw^ nominibus partes p/wdictfe in 
"indic^amento illo censeantwr nobi? in Cancellari^TTZ 
"no^^ram sub sigillo tuo distincte & aperte sine dila 
u #ione mittas & hoc br0t>e Teste me ip^a apud Westmin- 
"ster xv die Junij Anno Tegni nostri tricesimo quinto, 


"[Indorsed] tenor recordi in isto br0t?i mencionati patet 
"in quadam inquisicione huic brevi annexflfo./. 
"Responsio Will^/m Danby Coronatoris hospicij do- 
"mme Regine" 5 


"Elizabeth by the grace of God of England France & 
"Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith &c To our well- 
beloved William Danby, Gentleman, Coroner of our 
"household, greeting. Wishing for certain causes to be 
"certified upon an indictment made in your presence 
"concerning the death of Christopher Morley, upon 
"view of the body of the same Christopher, at Detforde 
"Strande in our County of Kent within the verge 6 
"lying dead and slain, whence a certain Ingram ffrysar, 
"late of London, Gentleman, is indicted (as by the 
"record thence remaining with you it fully appears) 
"And whether the same Ingram slew the aforesaid 
"Christopher in self-defence, & not feloniously or of 
"malice aforethought, so that in no other wise could 
"he avoid his own death, or not; we command you to 
"send the tenor of the indictment aforesaid with every- 
thing touching it and whatsoever names the parties 
"aforesaid in that indictment are known by, to us in 
"our Chancery under your seal distinctly & openly 
"without delay, & with this writ. Witness myself at 
"Westminster on the 15th day of June in the year of 
"our reign the thirty-fifth. POWLE. 

"[Indorsed] The tenor of the record mentioned in this 
"writ appears in a certain inquisition annexed to this 

"Return of William Danby Coroner of the household to 
"our lady the Queen." 


Next we have the inquisition, returned by William 
Danby, Coroner of the Household, in obedience to the 
writ, into Chancery: 

"Kane./ Inquisicio indentata capta apud Detford 
"Strand in praedicto Comitatu Kancm infra virgam 
"primo die Junij anno regni Elizabeths dei gr&tia 
"AngKe ffrancis & Hibernie Regine fidei defensoris &c 
"tricesimo quinto coram WinWmo Danby Generoso 
"Coronatore hospicij dicte domine Regine sup^r visum 
"corporis Cristoferi Morley ibidem iacentfi? mortui & 
"interfecti per sacrwm Nichofai Draper Generosi Wol- 
"stani Randall generosi WilltfZmi Curry Adriani Walker 
" Johannis Barber Roberti Baldwyn Egidij ffeld Georgij 
"Halfepenny HenHci Awger Jacobi Batt Henrici Ben- 
"dyn Thome Batt semom Johannis Baldwyn Alexandri 
"Burrage Edmundi Goodcheepe & Kenrici Dabyns 
"Qui dicwTi^ sacrwm suuw quod cum quidam Ingramw^ 
"ffrysar nuper de London^ Gensrosus ac praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley Ac quid^m NichoZ^us Skeres nup^r 
"deLondonia Gen^rosus ac Rob^rfcus Poley de Londoma 
"praedicta, Generosus tricesimo die Maij anno tricesimo 
"quinto supradic^o apud Detford Strand pr<2dtfam in 
"praedicto Comitatu Kancia infra virgam circa horam 
"decimam ante meridiem eiusdemdiei insimul conuener- 
"unt in Camera infra domura cuiusdam Elionore Bull 
"vidue & ib idem pariter moram gesserunt & prandebant 
"& post prandiwm ibidem qvdeto* modo insimul fuerunt 
"& ambulauerunt in gardinuw pertinen^m domui prae- 
* MS. quieU. 


"dicto vsqwe horam sextam post meridiem eiusdem diei & 
"tune recesserunt a gardino praedicto in Cameram prae- 
"dictam & ibidem insimul & parity cenabant & post 
"cenam praedicti Ingramus & Cristoferus Morley locuti 
"fuerunt & publicauerunt vnus eorum alieri diuersa 
"maliciosa verbs, pro eo quo A concordare & agreare non 
"potuerunt circa solucionem denariorzm sumrae voc- 
"atum le recknynge ibidem. & praedictus Cristoferus 
"Morley adtunc iacens sup^r lectum in Camera vbi cen- 
"auerunt & ira motus versus praefatwmlngramumffirysar 
"sup^r verbis vt pr^efertur inter eos pra&locutis Et prae- 
"dictfus Ingramw^ adtunc & ibidem sedens in Camera 
"pra^dic^a cum tergo suo versus lectum vbi praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley tune iacebat prope lectum vocatum 
cc nere the bed sedens & cum anteriori parte corporis 
"sui versus mensam & pra^dictfi NichoZaus Skeres & 
"Rob^rtusPoley ex vtraqw^parteip^iuslngrami seden^ 
"tali modo vt idem Ingramus ffrysar nullo modo fugam 
"factfre potuit Ita accidit quod praedictus Cristoferus 
"Morley ex subito & ex malicia sua erga -praef&tum 
"IngramuTTz pr^^cogitata pugionem pra<?dic#i Ingrami 
"super tergum suum existen^em maliciose adtunc & 
"iby^m evaginabat & cum eodem pugione praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley adtunc & ibidem maliciose dedit 
"praefato Ingramo duo vulnera super caput SUUTTI longi- 
"tudinis duorum policium & profunditatis quartij vnius 
"policis Super quo praedictfus Ingramus metuens occidi 
"& sedens in forma praedictfa inter praefatcw Nicho/awm 
"Skeres & Robertwm Poley Ita qwod vlterius aliquo 


"modo recedere non potuit in sua defensione & salua- 
"cione vite sue adtunc & ibidem contendebat cum prae- 
"fato Cristofero Morley recipere ab eo pugionem suum 
"praedictum in qua quidem affraia idem Ingramus a 
"praefato Cristofero Morley vlterius recedere non potuit 
"Et sic in aflraia ilia Ita accidit quod praedictus In- 
"gramus in defensione vite sue cum pugione praedicta, 
"precij xij d dedit praefato Cristofero adtunc & ibidem 
"vnam plagam mortalem super dexterum oculum suum 
"profunditatis duorwm policium & latitudinis vnius 
"policis de qua quidem plaga mortali pra^dic^us Cris- 
"toferus Morley adtunc & ibidem instanter obijt Et 
"sic luratores praedicfi. dicwwtf super sacrum suum quod 
"proedictfus Ingramus praefatwm Cristoferum Morley 
"praedicto tricesimo die Maij anno tricesimo quinto 
"suprodic^o apud Detford Strand praedict&m in prae- 
"dic^o Comitatu Kancia infra virgam in Camera prae- 
"dic^a infra virgam modo & forma proedicris in defen- 
"sione ac saluacione vite sue interfecitf & occidit contra 
"pacem dic^e domine Regine nunc coronam & dignita- 
"tem suas Et vlterius Juratores praedicti dicunt super 
"sacrwm suum quod pr^edic^us Ingramus post occisi- 
"onem praedic^am per se modo & forma praedictis per- 
"petratam & factam non fugit neque se retraxit Sed que 
"bona aut catalla terras aut tenewenta praedicjfus In- 
"gramus tempore occisionis proedic^e per se modo & 
"forma praedictfis facte & perpetrate haiuit luratores 
"praedicjfi penitus ignorant In cuius rei testimonium 
"tarn praedic^us Coronator qwam lum^ore^ praedicfi 


"huic Inquisicioni sigilla sua alteratim aff[ixe]runt 
"Datwra die & anno supradactfis &c 

"per WiLWmwra Danby 
"Coronatorem." 7 

"Kent./ Inquisition indented taken at Detford Strand 
"in the aforesaid County of Kent within the verge on 
"the first day of June in the year of the reign of Eliza- 
"beth by the grace of God of England France & Ireland 
"Queen defender of the faith &c thirty-fifth, in the 
"presence of William Danby, Gentleman, Coroner of 
"the household of our said lady the Queen, upon view 
"of the body of Christopher Morley, there lying dead 
"& slain, upon oath of Nicholas Draper, Gentleman, 
"Wolstan Randall, gentleman, William Curry, Adrian 
"Walker, John Barber, Robert Baldwyn, Giles field, 
"George Halfepenny, Henry Awger, James Batt, 
"Henry Bendyn, Thomas Batt senior, John Baldwyn, 
"Alexander Burrage, Edmund Goodcheepe, & Henry 
"Dabyns, Who say [upon] their oath that when a cer- 
"tain Ingram ffrysar, late of Lon.don, Gentleman, and 
"the aforesaid Christopher Morley and one Nicholas 
"Skeres, late of London, Gentleman, and Robert Poley 
"of London aforesaid, Gentleman, on the thirtieth day 
"of May in the thirty-fifth year above named, at Det- 
"ford Strand aforesaid in the said County of Kent with- 
"in the verge, about the tenth hour before noon of the 
"same day, met together in a room in the house of a 
"certain Eleanor Bull, widow; & there passed the time 


"'together & dined & after dinner were in quiet sort to- 
gether there & walked in the garden belonging to the 
"said house until the sixth hour after noon of the same 
"day & then returned from the said garden to the room 
"aforesaid & there together and in company supped, 
"& after supper the said Ingram & Christopher Morley 
"were in speech & uttered one to the other divers 
"malicious words for the reason that they could not be 
"at one nor agree about the payment of the sum of 
"pence, that is, le recknynge, there, & the said Chris- 
"topher Morley then lying upon a bed in the room 
"where they supped, & moved with anger against the 
"said Ingram ffirysar upon the words as aforesaid 
"spoken between them, And the said Ingrain then & 
"there sitting in the room aforesaid with his back 
"towards the bed where the said Christopher Morley 
"was then lying, sitting near the bed, that is, nere the 
"bed, & with the front part of his body towards the 
"table & the aforesaid Nicholas Skeres & Robert Poley 
"sitting on either side of the said Ingram in such a 
"manner that the same Ingram ffrysar in no wise could 
"take flight: it so befell that the said Christopher 
"Morley on a sudden & of his malice towards the said 
"Ingram aforethought, then & there maliciously drew 
"the dagger of the said Ingram which was at his 
"back, and with the same dagger the said Christopher 
"Morley then & there maliciously gave the aforesaid 
"Ingram two wounds on his head of the length of two 
"inches & of the depth of a quarter of an inch; where- 


"upon the said Ingram, in fear of being slain, & sitting 
"in the manner aforesaid between the said Nicholas 
"Skeres & Robert Poley so that he could not in any 
"wise get away, in his own defence & for the saving of 
"his life, then & there struggled with the said Chris- 
topher Morley to get back from him his dagger afore- 
"said; in which affray the same Ingram could not get 
"away from the said Christopher Morley; and so it 
"befell in that affray that the said Ingram, in defence 
"of his life, with the dagger aforesaid of the value of 
"1&2. gave the said Christopher then & there a mortal 
"wound over his right eye of the depth of two inches & 
"of the width of one inch; of which mortal wound the 
"aforesaid Christopher Morley then & there instantly 
"died; And so the Jurors aforesaid say upon their oath 
"that the said Ingram killed & slew Christopher Mor- 
"ley aforesaid on the thirtieth day of May in the thirty- 
"fifth year named above at Detford Strand aforesaid 
"within the verge in the room aforesaid within the 
"verge in the manner and form aforesaid in the defence 
"and saving of his own life, against the peace of our 
"said lady the Queen, her now crown & dignity; And 
"further the said Jurors say upon their oath that the 
"said Ingram after the slaying aforesaid perpetrated & 
"done by him in the manner & form aforesaid neither 
"fled nor withdrew himself; But what goods or chattels, 
"lands or tenements the said Ingram had at the time 
"of the slaying aforesaid, done & perpetrated by him 
"in the manner & form aforesaid, the said Jurors are 


"totally ignorant. In witness of which thing the said 
"Coroner as well as the Jurors aforesaid to this In- 
"quisition have interchangeably set their seals. 
"Given the day & year above named &c 


Finally, the enrolment of the pardon. 

"*R,egma pmlona se "Regina Omnibus Balliuis & fi- 

"defendendo pro "delibws suis ad quos &c salwt^m 

"Ingramo firysar "Cum per quandam Inquisicion- 

"em indentatam captam apud 

"Detford Strand in Comitatu nostro Kancm infra vir- 
"gam primo die Junij vltimo praeierito coram WilkZwio 
"Danby generoso Coronatore hospicij nostri sup^r vi- 
"sum corporis Christoferi Morley ibidem iacenfo's mor- 
"tui & interfecti per sacrwm NichoZ^i Draper Generosi 
"Wolstani Randall Generosi WilleZmi Curry Adriani 
"Walker Johannis Barber Rob^rti Baldwine Egidij ffeld 
"Georgij Halfepenny Henrici Awger Jacobi Batte 
"Henrici Bendin Thome Batte senioris Joha/mis Bald- 
"wyn Mv&andri Burrage Edmundi Goodcheape & Hen- 
"nci Dabyns comp^rtum existit Quod quidam Ingramus 
"ffrisar nuper de Londonia Generosus ac praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley Ac quidam Nichofous Skeres nup^r 
"deLondoma Generosus ac Rob^rtus Poley de Londoma 
"pr^^dic^a Gen^rosus tricesimo die Maij vltimo prae- 
"t^rito apud Detford Strande praedictfam in praedicto 
"Comitatu nostro Kancia infra virgam circa horam deci- 


"mam ante meridiem eiusdem diei insimul conuenerunt 
"in Camera infra domura cuiusdam Elionore Bull vidue 
"& ibidem pariter moram gesserunt & prandebant & 
"post prandium ibidem in quieto modo insimul fuerunt 
"& ambulauerunt inGardinum pertinentem domui prae- 
"dicto vsqwe horam sextam post meridiem eiusdem diei 
"& tune recesserunt a gardino praedicto in Cameram 
"praedictfam & ibidem insimul & pariter cenabant & 
"post cenam praedicti Ingramus & Christoferus Morley 
"locuti fuerunt & publicauerunt vnus eorum alteri di- 
"uersa malitiosa verba pro eo quod concordare & agreare 
"nonpotuerunt circa solucionem denariorwm summe vo- 
"catwwz le Reckoninge ibidem & -praedictus Xpoferus 
"Morley adtunc iacens sup^r lectum in Camera vbi cen- 
ttl auerunt & ira motus versus praefatwwilngramumffrisar 
"super v0rbis vt pra(?fertwr int^r eos praelocutis Et pra^- 
"dic^us Ingramus adtunc & ibidem sedens in Camera 
"praedictfa cum tergo suo versus lectum vbi praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley tune iacebat prope lectum vocatwm 
"nere the Bedd sedens & cum anterior! parte corporis 
"sui versus mensam & praedicti Nichofous Skeres & 
"tali modo vt idem Ingramus ffrisar nullo modo fugam 
"facere potuit Ita accidit qwod praedicttw Cristoferus 
"Morley ex subito & ex malicia sua erga praefatum 
"Ingramum praecogitata pugionem ipraedicti Ingrami 
"super tergum suum existenjfem maliciose adtunc & 
"ibidem euaginabat & cum eodem pugione praedictus 
"Cristoferus Morley adtunc & ibidem maliciose dedit 


mo duovulnera super Caput suuralongi- 
"tudinis duoicum policium & profunditatis quartij vnius 
"pollicis Super quo praedictus Ingramus metuens occidi 
"& sedens in forma praedicto inter praef&tos Nicholaum 
"Skeres & Robertum Poley Ita qwod vlterius aliquo 
"modo recedere non potuit in sua defensione & salua- 
"caone vite sue adtunc & ibidem contendebat cum prae- 
"fato Xpofero Morley recipere ab eo pugionem suum 
"praedictum In qua quidem affraia idem Ingramus a 
"prarfato Xpofero Morley vlterius recedere non potuit 
"Et sic in affraia ilia ita accidit quod praedictus Ingra- 
fcfc mus in defensione vite sue cum pugione pra^dictfa pr^cij 
fct duodecim denariorwm dedit praef&to Cristofero adtunc 
tc> & ibidem vnam plagam mortalem sup^r dext^rum ocu- 
ct lum suum profunditatis duoTum pollicium & latitudinis 
"vnius pollicis de qua quidem plaga mortali praedictfus 
"Xpoferus Morley adtunc & ibidem instants* obijt Et 
"sic qwod praedictus Ingramus praef&tum Cristoferum 
" Morley praedicto tricesimo die May vltimo praeierito 
"apud Detford Strande praedict&m in praedicto Comi- 
"tatu no^tro Kancifl infra virgam in Camera praedictB, 
"infra Virgam modo & forma praedictis in defensione ac 
"saluacione vite sue int^rfecit & occidit contra pacem 
"nos#ram coronam & dignitatem no^^ras Sicut p^r teno- 
"rem Recordi Inquisic^oms praedicte quern coram nobfo 
"in Cancellaria no^tfra virtute brms no^^ri venire feci- 
"mw^ plenius liquet Nos igitur pietate moti perdonaui- 
"m^ eidem Ingramo ffrisar sectam pacis no^re que ad 
"nos versus praedictum IngramuTTi p^rtinet pro morte 


"supradictfa & firmam pacem no$tfram ei inde concedi- 
"nm$ Ita tamen quod stet rectum in Curia no^tfra siquis 
" versus eum loqui volumt de morte supradictfa In cuius 
"rei &c Teste Regina apud Kewe xxviii die Junij" 8 

This pardon rehearses the terms of the inquisition 
almost word for word, omitting only the jury's state- 
ment that Frizer did not try to escape, and that they 
did not know the amount of his property. It is neces- 
sary to give here only the final clauses of the pardon: 
". . . And so that the said Ingram killed & slew Chris- 
topher Morley aforesaid at Detford Strande aforesaid 
"in our said County of Kent within the verge in the 
"room aforesaid within the verge in the manner & form 
"aforesaid in the defence and saving of his own life, 
"against our peace our crown & dignity As more fully 
"appears by the tenor of the Record of the Inquisition 
"aforesaid which we caused to come before us in our 
"Chancery by virtue of our writ We therefore moved 
"by piety have pardoned the same Ingram ffrisar the 
"breach of our peace which pertains to us against the 
"said Ingram for the death above mentioned & grant 
"to him our firm peace Provided nevertheless that the 
"right remain in our Court if anyone sliould wish to 
"complain of him concerning the death above men- 
tioned In testimony &c Witness the Queen at Kewe 
"on the 28th day of June." 

From these documents the chronology of the case 
emerges as follows: Ingram Frizer killed Christopher 


Marlowe received his death-blow, or (6) to suppose 
that Frizer 5 Poley, and Skeres after the slaying, and in 
order to save Frizer's life on a plea of self-defence, con- 
cocted a lying account of Marlowe's behaviour, to which 
they swore at the inquest, and with which they deceived 
the jury. 

The latter seems to me a possible but rather unlikely 
view of the case. In all probability the men had been 
drinking deep (the party had lasted from ten in the 
morning until night!); and the bitter debate over the 
score had roused Marlowe's intoxicated feelings to such 
a pitch that, leaping from the bed, he took the nearest 
way to stop Frizer's mouth. 

Beard and Vaughan differ from each other and from 
the official report in regard to the dagger. Beard says 
that Marlowe drew his own dagger upon his enemy, 
who, ''catching hold of his wrest, . . . stabbed his owne 
dagger into his owne head\ Vaughan also tells us that 
Marlowe drew his own poniard on Ingram, but goes on 
to say that the latter, ^drawing out his dagger for his 
defence . . . stabd this Marlow into the eye*. Neither 
of the old writers mentions the actual cuts inflicted by 
Marlowe on Frizer's head. The Coroner's record, on the 
other hand, explicitly says that Marlowe drew Frizer's 
dagger from its place at his back and had stabbed him 
twice before Frizer in the struggle got enough hold on 
the weapon to give Marlowe the final thrust. 
We have seen that the quarrel which brought on the 
fight was a dispute over the reckoning. We cannot be 


sure that Vaughan is accurate in saying that Ingram 
had invited Christopher to this feast. No doubt there 
was some serious misunderstanding about the pocket 
which should disburse the pence. At any rate, the ques- 
tion of the score grew deadly. Word and blow followed 
fast in those Italianate days. 

Money is cause sufficient for a fight, without haling in 
a woman. The obj ect of Marlowe^s imagined lewde loue' 
is noticeably absent from the picture, both as a cause and 
as a witness of the fray. In spite of the wishes of Francis 
Meres and his followers, she must now be returned 
with thanks to the fertile brain from which she sprang. 

There is nevertheless a woman in the case: Mistress 
Eleanor Bull, hostess of the tavern. While the Inquisi- 
tion unfortunately does not give the name of her house, 
and I have been unable to find any list of the sixteenth- 
century public houses in Deptford, an entry in the 
burial register of St. Nicholas, Deptford, gives us some 
clue to Mistress Bull: 

1590 April 9 Rich. Bull, gent. 

Deptford was a very small place. This Richard Bull, 
gentleman, is doubtless the deceased husband of Elea- 
nor Bull, widow. Now, since the probable owner of the 
tavern had the title of fc gentleman% and there was a 
garden adjoining the house which allowed perambula- 
tion, the place was presumably not a low resort. 

We return to a prime consideration. Who and what 
was Ingram Frizer? From the Inquisition we know that 
he was late of London, gentleman'. What then of the 


Marlowe on the evening of Wednesday, May 30, 1593. 
The inquest was held on Friday, June 1; and on the 
same day they buried Marlowe's body. The writ of cer- 
tiorari was issued out of the Chancery just two weeks 
later on Friday, June 15. Thereupon Coroner Danby 
made his return, and Frizer's pardon was granted at 
Kew on Thursday, June 28. 

The members of the jury which viewed Marlowe's 
body were not by any means all drawn from Deptford. 
Only two Deptford men, William Curry of Deptford 
Strand, and Giles Field of the Upper Deptford, were of 
substance enough to appear on contemporary Lay Sub- 
sidy Rolls. 9 Others were impanelled from Greenwich, 
which lay just across the Ravensbourne River from 
Deptford: Henry Dobbins and Mr. John Baldwyn, who 
lived in High Street East, Mr. Adrian Walker of Lime- 
kills, Thomas Benden, and Wolstone Randall. 10 George 
Halfpenny came across the Thames from Limehouse. 11 
In Woolwich I find a certain William Danby, who is 
perhaps the same as our William Danby the Coroner. 

One matter of some interest turned up on the Subsidy 
Roll for East Greenwich (249/8). It will be recalled that 
Thomas Beard's account (1597) relates: ^It so fell out, 
that in London streets as he purposed to staff, etc. So 
patently absurd was it to have "streets', in the plural, 
that the passage was omitted in the 1612 edition of 
his book; and in Rudierde's abridgment (1618) it was 
altered to make an attempt at sense as fc # streete in 
London*. Ever since the slaying was shown to have 


occurred at Deptford, writers have treated this state- 
ment with some scorn as an 'obvious error". 

Beard's inaccuracy, however, was perhaps not so great 
as it has been represented. For in the Subsidy Roll for 
East Greenwich one of the main thoroughfares listed 
is London streete. This London streete is reached from 
Deptford Bridge, and is but a few hundred yards from 
the scene of Marlowe's death. 

Without doubt Beard wrote from hearsay. His inform- 
ant had heard that Marlowe died in London Streete, 
East Greenwich, instead of somewhere in West Green- 
wich, alias Deptford. The printer added to the confu- 
sion by changing final e to $, making streete into streets. 
Despite Beard's inaccuracies, then, he is not such a 
blunderer as we have thought. A few hundred yards 
wide of the mark is better than three miles. 

Now for the findings of the Coroner's jury. 

A most important first consideration is that there 
were two witnesses to the killing, evidently friends of 
Marlowe and Frizer, who had been feasting with them. 
The finding of fc homicide in self-defence' in the case is 
based upon an examination of Marlowe's body, of the 
dagger-wounds on Frizer's head, of the dagger itself, 
and upon the testimony of the two eye-witnesses, Poley 
and Skeres, 

Two courses are open to us: (a) to believe as true the 
story of Marlowe's attack on Frizer from behind, cor- 
roborated in so far as it is by the wounds on Frizer's 
head, which wounds must have been inflicted before 


Marlowe received his death-blow, or (6) to suppose 
that Frizer, Poley, and Skeres after the slaying, and in 
order to save Frizer's life on a plea of self-defence, con- 
cocted a lying account of Marlowe's behaviour, to which 
they swore at the inquest, and with which they deceived 
the jury. 

The latter seems to me a possible but rather unlikely 
view of the case. In all probability the men had been 
drinking deep (the party had lasted from ten in the 
morning until night!); and the bitter debate over the 
score had roused Marlowe's intoxicated feelings to such 
a pitch that, leaping from the bed, he took the nearest 
way to stop Frizer's mouth. 

Beard and Vaughan differ from each other and from 
the official report in regard to the dagger. Beard says 
that Marlowe drew his own dagger upon his enemy, 
who, 'catching hold of his wrest? . . . stabbed his owne 
dagger into his owne head 1 *. Vaughan also tells us that 
Marlowe drew his own poniard on Ingram, but goes on 
to say that the latter, ''drawing out his dagger for his 
defence . . . stabd this Marlow into the eye''. Neither 
of the old writers mentions the actual cuts inflicted by 
Marlowe on Frizer's head. The Coroner's record, on the 
other hand, explicitly says that Marlowe drew Frizer's 
dagger from its place at his back and had stabbed him 
twice before Frizer in the struggle got enough hold on 
the weapon to give Marlowe the final thrust. 
We have seen that the quarrel which brought on the 
fight was a dispute over the reckoning. We cannot be 


sure that Vaughan is accurate in saying that Ingrain 
had invited Christopher to this feast. No doubt there 
was some serious misunderstanding about the pocket 
which should disburse the pence. At any rate, the ques- 
tion of the score grew deadly. Word and blow followed 
fast in those Italianate days. 

Money is cause sufficient for a fight, without haling in 
a woman. The obj ect of Marlowe^s imagined lewde loue 1 
is noticeably absent from the picture, both as a cause and 
as a witness of the fray. In spite of the wishes of Francis 
Meres and his followers, she must now be returned 
with thanks to the fertile brain from which she sprang. 

There is nevertheless a woman in the case: Mistress 
Eleanor Bull, hostess of the tavern. While the Inquisi- 
tion unfortunately does not give the name of her house, 
and I have been unable to find any list of the sixteenth- 
century public houses in Deptford, an entry in the 
burial register of St. Nicholas, Deptford, gives us some 
clue to Mistress Bull: 

1590 April 9 Rich. Bull, gent. 

Deptford was a very small place. This Richard Bull, 
gentleman, is doubtless the deceased husband of Elea- 
nor Bull, widow. Now, since the probable owner of the 
tavern had the title of fc gentleman% and there was a 
garden adjoining the house which allowed perambula- 
tion, the place was presumably not a low resort. 

We return to a prime consideration. Who and what 
was Ingram Frizer? From the Inquisition we know that 
he was fc late of London, gentleman 1 . What then of the 


''bawdy serving-man'*? It was Francis Meres who started 
that second snowball of legend on its career. What did 
he mean by ^serving-man 1 ? The greatest nobles of the 
land were Elizabeth's household servants. William 
Shakspere was servant to the Lord Chamberlain. The 
questions put themselves: Was Frizer a servant? If he 
was, whom did he serve, and in what capacity? 

In my search for facts bearing on his life, I found that 
Frizer, in all probability, was just as much a serving- 
man as Christopher Marlowe, and that they both 
served the same master. All this came out, however, 
in quite a roundabout fashion. It is desirable to re- 
arrange the data in order to make the case as clear as 

Thus far, the earliest record I have found concerning 
Frizer shows him as a man of some small means. On 
October 9, 1589, he purchased the Angel Inn, situated 
in Basingstoke, from the joint owners, Thomas Bo- 
stock of London, gentleman, and William Symons of 
Winchester, gentleman, for ^120. 13 Within two months, 
however, he had sold it ''for a competent sum' to James 
Deane, citizen and draper of London. 14 

On the day that Frizer bought the fc Angel' (October 
9, 1589), one of the sellers, Thomas Bostock, entered 
into an obligation to him in the sum of 0&240. Bostock 
failed to discharge his debt, and Frizer brought suit in 
the Exchequer on June 18, 1591. After several delays, 
he received judgment in Easter term, 1592, against 
Bostock, with 4* costs. 16 Yet the debtor still de- 


A Map ofDtptford, 16SS. 


faulted, and Frizer at length obtained an execution 
against him in the Exchequer on May 30, 1595. 16 

The sums involved in these transactions show that 
Frizer, though perhaps not rich, was by no means 
poor. He no doubt made a penny or two by buying 
and selling small pieces of property such as the Angel 

In 1594, a twelvemonth after he had killed Christopher 
Marlowe, we find Ingram Frizer once more in the Court 
of Exchequer. It appears that on June 28 of that year 
one Thomas Smyth made over to him a house in the 
parish of St. Saviour's, Southwark, with possession for 
three years from June 24, 1594. Frizer took possession 
at once; but three days later, on July 1, a certain Ed- 
mund Ballard entered the house and drove him out. 
Frizer brought suit on October 17, 1594, in the Ex- 
chequer for recovery, and claimed ^40 damages. He 
recovered possession, with 5 damages and 6d. costs 17 

In the c Anger transactions, and in the Bostock suit in 
the Exchequer, Frizer is styled c of London, yeoman'. 
By the terms of the Coroners inquisition, he was late 
of London, Gentleman 1 , and in the Ballard case, ''In- 
gram Frizer, Gentleman 1 . Thus far there is no hint 
that he was in service to a master. 

A long search through the voluminous ''Chancery 
Proceedings, Elizabeth 1 , produced a suit in which 
Ingram Frizer was the defendant. The record consists 
of two membranes: the bill of complaint, and the de- 
fendant's answer. By ill luck, the right-hand side and 


bottom of both membranes have rotted away, leaving 
regrettable gaps in the dim script. A chemical wash 
and the keen eyes of an expert, however, got as much 
as possible from the documents, the sum of which I 
have printed in an appendix. 18 While the fragmentary 
nature of the documents prevents us from understand- 
ing the case fully, we may put together something from 
what is left. 

Widow Anne Woodleff of Aylesbury, Bucks, and her 
son Drew accuse Ingram Frizer of practising, with the 
aid of Nicholas Skeres, a series of frauds on the said 
Drew, under the pretence of lending him ready money. 
Frizer's first device was to get a signed bond for ,60 
from Drew, against an assurance that he would lend 
Drew a similar amount in cash. When it came to the 
point, Frizer pretended that he had no ready money, 
and offered Drew instead some cannon, or great iron 
pieces, which he had on Tower Hill. These Drew was 
forced to accept; but he begged Frizer to sell them for 
him. Frizer made as though to sell them, and returned 
shortly after with BO as the proceeds. Drew accuses 
him of never even offering the guns for sale, and of 
swindling him out of the other 3Q. 

In the second place, Drew alleges that Skeres per- 
suaded him to enter into another bond to Frizer, this 
time for 20 marks, under the pretence that such a 
procedure would lighten the burden of a similar debt 
which he (Skeres) owed Frizer; and that he (Drew) 
would get his money back at the end of the year, after 


paying Frizer. That is. Drew should pay Frizer, who 
would hand the money to Skeres, who would return it 
to Drew. (I cannot profess to understand the ins and 
outs of this devious transaction.) Drew, in good faith, 
then, entered into a bond to pay Frizer twenty marks 
within a year. It was all -very well to involve young 
Drew in these engagements to pay Frizer, but if the 
young gentleman could not raise the money to meet 
them on his and his mother's estate, it was plain that 
he must be made to borrow it. To this end they induced 
him to saddle himself with a further obligation of %QQ 
fc unto a gentleman of good worshipp [who was] the said 
Fryser his then Maister\ 

Keeping this in mind, let us see what follows. In his 
answer to the bill of complaint, Frizer makes no 
defence. He points out merely that Anne and Drew 
Woodleff stand outlawed in a plea of debt in the Court 
of Common Pleas, June 16, 1598; moreover, that Anne 
stands waived on another plea in the Court of Hustings, 
April 25, 1597; and ends by asking the Lord Keeper 
whether he ought to answer the complaints of outlaws. 

This bill and answer are all we have by which to judge 
the rights of the case, since Lord Keeper Egerton made 
no decree or order. Do the complaints of the Wood- 
leffs seem to be bonafide statements of wrong? I believe 
that they are such; for it is still harder to believe that 
the Woodleffs trumped up the whole circumstantial 
charge. I find, furthermore, that on April 30, 1596, the 
Woodleffs sold to Ingram Frizer two houses and thirty 


acres of land in Great and Little Missenden, Bucks, 19 
and that Frizer re-sold the same within two years there- 
after to one William Barton of Great Missenden. 20 
This transaction adds to my impression that Frizer was 
making money from his dealings with the Woodleffs. 
While I have not yet examined the Woodleff cases in 
the Hustings and the Common Pleas, I have followed 
the trail opened by Drew WoodlefTs bond, or Statute 
Staple, of ,200 "unto a gentleman of good worshipp 
. . . the said Fryser his then Maister\ The period 
indicated by the word ^hen 1 , according to the Wood- 
leff complaint, is fc about fyve yeres nowe laste paste**; 
and ^owe" 5 must be some time after June 16, 1598, the 
date of the writ of capias utlagatum, to which Frizer 
refers. Subtracting five years, we are brought to 1593 
or thereabouts. The problem was to find the bond into 
which Drew entered. Entries of Statutes Staple or recog- 
nizances of debt were made in folio books kept by the 
Clerk of the Recognizances. These books are now pre- 
served with the Lord Chamberlain^ papers in the Public 
Record Office, and are referred to by contemporary 
manuscript indices. A careful search yielded an entry, 21 
dated June 29, 1593, by which Drew Woodlef of Peterley, 
Bucks, gentleman, was bound to Thomas Walsingham 
of Chislehurst, Kent, esquire, in the sum of 200 to be 
paid by July 25, 1593. A note shows that on Drew^s de- 
fault the debt was certified for settlement into Chancery. 
Here, then, is young Drew in a bond of ^200 4 unto 
a gentleman of good worshipp'. And the gentleman, 


Thomas Walsingham of CMslehurst, is the patron of 
Christopher Marlowe, and Ingram Frizer^s master 

We have thus arrived at a fact of the first importance 
connecting Marlowe and Frizer. 

So much for the illuminating Woodleff case. It has 
shown us that Frizer was intimate with Nicholas Skeres, 
who was present at Marlowe's death. Further, it has 
led us to the knowledge that Frizer was servant to Mr. 
Thomas Walsingham. Scholars have long been aware, 
from the Privy Council summons of May 18, 1593, that 
Marlowe was known to be staying at Mr. Walsingham's 
house at Scadbury, Chislehurst. Everything, then, 
points to an association between Marlowe and Frizer at 
Scadbury as dependents of the same wealthy gentleman. 

This hypothesis is strengthened by later documents. 
Among the Signet Office Docquets I find the following 
warrant, dated September 5, 1603: 22 
"M r Frysar "A warrant to the Chancello 1 and At- 
"Lease "torney of the Duchie of Lancaster for 

"a Lease in Revmjion to be made to 
"Ingram ffrysar w tjl out flyne to his owne vse and for 
"ffortie yeres of landes tenementes and hereditaments 
"w tlx m the survey of the said Duchie amounting to the 
"yerely value of fortie poundes or therabouts." 

An undated note 23 among the State Papers obviously 
refers to the above warrant: 

"After my hartie conmendacions. Whereas his M&jes- 
"tie hath long sithens directed warrant to you for a 
"lease to be passed to Ingram frysar at the sute of the 


"La: Walsingham, -which lease you do now make some 
"difficultie to passe by reason of the Restraint for the 
"Entaile of his MeyesHes landes. . . . Forasmuch as 
"the same warrant was graunted long before the said 
"restraint his Matties pleasure is not to make stay 
"thereof. These are therefore to require you to passe 
"the same lease to the vse of the said La. Walsingham 
''''[marginal note: With any reasonable favor that may 
"be affoorded her] according to yowr warrant in that 
"behalf. Provyded that it be done with such con- 
"venient speed, as his majesties service touching the 
"saide Entaile be not thereby hindered. 
"Sir J: Fortescu." 

The lease was passed in December 1603: 
"A Lease in Reuersion graunted to Ingram Fryser for 
"the benefit of the Lady Audre Walsingham for 40: 
"yeares of diuers lands p#rcell of the possessions of the 
"Duchy of Lancaster Rent per annum: 42 11 6 s 3 d ." 24 

Lady Audrey Walsingham was the wife of Sir Thomas 
Walsingham (Marlowe^s friend), and daughter-in-law 
to Mr. Thomas Walsingham, Frizer's former master. 
She was a great favourite of Queen Anne's, and was 
chosen in 1608 to be King Jameses Valentine. 

From the above documents it is evident that in 1603, 
and later, Frizer was still connected with the Walsing- 
hams. Meantime, however, he had moved from London 
down to Eltham in Kent, much nearer to Scadbury. In 
a deed of sale, 25 dated in June 1602, Frizer is described 
as c late of London yoraan and nowe dwellinge at El- 


tham in the Countye of Kente\ Nine years later he 
was still living at Eltham, and appears on the Subsidy 
Roll 26 as one of the two certified assessors of the parish, 
being taxed one and fourpence on a small holding of 
land valued at twenty shillings. 

Here we lose track of Ingram Frizer, though a trace 
of his name appears in the Eltham marriage register in 
1629, when a Thomas Burton married Jane, widow of 
William Frieser. 27 

As for Nicholas Skeres, Frizer's friend, I have found 
little, and that little unsavoury. On March 13, 1594-5 
he was arrested by Sir Richard Martin, Alderman, in c a 
very dangerous company' at the house of one Williamson. 
He appears in the list as c Nicholas Kyrse alias Skeers, 
servant to the Earl of Essex 1 , and was imprisoned with 
the rest in the Counter in Wood Street to await examina- 
tion. 28 On July 31, 1601, the Privy Council issued war- 
rants **to the Keeper of the prison of Newgate for the re- 

mooving of Nicholas Skiers and Farmer, prisoners 

in his custodie, unto BridewelP. 29 

Robert Poley, who made the fourth in that fatal party 
at the Deptford tavern, is, I believe, identical with the 
Robert Poley employed by Secretary Francis Walsing- 
ham to spy out the Babington-Mary Queen of Scots 
conspiracy in 1586. Poley took an intimate part in the 
plot, as appears from the following letter 30 from Babing- 
ton to Mary's secretary: 

"Mr Nawe, I would gladley vnderstand what opinion 
"you houlde of one Roberte Poley whom I finde to haue 


"intelligence with her Majesties accions, I am private 
"with the man, & by meane therof I know somewhat, 
"but I susspect more, I praye you deliuer yowr opinion 

"of him/ 


Even after Babington's arrest he had not learned 
that his friend was a government spy. He wrote Poley 
an incoherent and foolish note, 31 wherein he exclaims, 
". . . Farewell my sweet Robin, if as I take thee, true 
"to mee, If not Adiew bipedum nequissimus of all twoe 
"footed creatures the worst . . ." 

Yet some members of the Catholic party recognized 
the deep part that Poley had played. An anonymous 
letter 32 dated September 19, 1586, says "Theare is one 
"Rob^rte Poole alias Polley [whom] the Papists gyve 
"out to be the broacher of the last treason./ [They] rest 
"p^rswaded that his committing to the Towre was but 
"to bly[nde the] world after he had reveyled Babbington 
"and his complices, [he in] troth consorted with them 
"by the Counsells direction " 

Poley, then,hadbeeninSecretaryWalsingham^sservice 
as a spy. Frizer, servant to Mr. Thomas Walsingham, 
was later accused, with Nicholas Skeres, of swindling a 
young country gentleman. Skeres, servant to the Earl 
of Essex, is heard of elsewhere only in prison. 

Although we can hardly regard the three men who 
ate the final feast with Christopher Marlowe as being 
choice company for a 'pure Elementall wit% they were 
certainly not his social inferiors. Marlowe and Frizer 


.iVftiM'i J 

I I I U 

London and part of Kent, 1596. 


must have known each other well, from their associa- 
tion at Scadbury. Such an intimacy helps to explain 
the quarrel over the reckoning. Companions quarrel 
much more fiercely than comparative strangers over 
such a thing. 






which appears in the Coroner's inquisition, seems to 
our eyes strangely.distorted from the familiar Marlow 
found in the baptismal book of St. George^s, Canter- 
bury. Every student of Marlowe's life is nevertheless 
aware that (even for those days of sportive spelling) 
the variety of names he went under is notable. At 
Corpus Christi, Cambridge, he was entered during most 
of his college career chiefly as Marlm\ and in his last 
year of residence, most frequently as Marley. The spell- 


ing Marlow indeed occurs nowhere in the University 
books. He took both B,A. and M A. as Marley, and 
we know from Sir Sidney Lee that it was as "Christofer 
Marley of London' that he was bound over to appear 
at the Middlesex gaol delivery in 1588. 

From Marley to Marley is no more than a step, and 
a step which the current pronunciation may have short- 
ened. At any rate, we need not be discouraged by the 
spelling used in the Coroner's inquisition. On the con- 
trary, the fact of its presence opens a new vista of possi- 
bility. Unnoticed records of the poet may be staling at 
us from familiar places, under a thin disguise of spelling. 
An important example of this ci-devant blindness of 
ours is, I believe, the following entry 33 in the Privy 
Council Register:^ 

"xxix Junij, 1587 "Whereas it was reported that 
"Lord Archbishop. "Christopher Morley was de- 
"Lord Chancelor. "termined to haue gone be- 
"Lord Thimwer. "yond the seas to Reames and 
"Lord Chamberlaine. "there to remaine Their Lord- 
"M r Comptroler. "Mps thought good to certefie 

"that he had no such intent, 

"but that in all his accions he had behaued him selfe 
"orderlie and discreetelie wherebie he had done her 
"May'wtie good service, and deserued to be rewarded 
"for his faithfull dealinge: Their Lordships request was 
"that the rumor thereof should be allaied by all poss- 
"ible meanes, and that he should be furthered in the 
"degree he was to take this next Commencement: Be- 


"cause it was not her Majesties pleasure that anie one 
"emploied as he had been in matters touching the bene- 
"fitt of his Countrie should be defamed by those that 
"are ignorant in tVaffaires he went about/" 

No comment on this extraordinary document is in 
order until it can be proved that the Christopher 
Morley here mentioned is the poet. At first glance such 
a proof seems hopeless; for there was a certain Chris- 
topher Morley at Cambridge at about this time a 
scholar of Trinity. But a comparison of the years of 
his degrees with the date of the document at once puts 
him out of the question. Christopher Morley of Trinity 
took his B. A. in 1582-3, and his M.A. in 1586; 34 where- 
as the Privy Council document is dated a twelvemonth 
after the latter date, and but a few days before the 
July Commencement, 1587, when ^Christopher Marley 1 * 
(our Marlowe of Corpus) took his Master's degree. 35 
It may be remarked in passing that the word Com- 
mencement used in a document of this period refers 
exclusively to the University of Cambridge, and to the 
academic exercises at which the full degrees namely, 
those above the degree of bachelor were taken. 
In reply to the obvious objection that our document 
may be misdated by a year, it is only necessary to remem- 
ber that a volume of the Privy Council Register is not 
a loose collection of papers, into which such easy errors 
might creep, but a continuous record book of proceed- 
ings, wherein entries were made almost daily. It is im- 
possible to cast any doubt on the dating. 


But, leaving the chronological proof out of considera- 
tion for a moment, what are the probabilities as be- 
tween the two Christophers? Fortunately some small 
light on Christopher Morley of Trinity has filtered 
down to us. By an odd coincidence, it comes from the 
same William Vaughan whose account of Marlowe^s 
death was the most accurate obtainable during more 
than three centuries. Two years after publishing his 
notice of Marlowe's slaying in the Golden Grove (1600), 
Vaughan was travelling in France and Italy. Zeal for 
Elizabeth and England moved him to write a letter 36 
from Pisa to the Privy Council containing a warning 
against Jesuits. Of this letter the following is an ex- 
tract, in part italicized: 


"1602, July 4/14. I thought it the part of her Maj esty's 
"loyal subject in these my travels to forewarn the 
"Council of certain caterpillars, I mean Jesuits and 
"seminary priests, who, as I am credibly informed by 
"two several men, whose names, under your pardon, 
"according to promise, instantly I conceal, are to be 
"sent from the English seminary at Valkdolid, in the 
"kingdom of Castile in Spain, to pervert and withdraw 
"her Majesty's loyal subjects from their due obedience 
"to her. I have therefore sent notice to some of you from 
"Calais in France of some such persons, and of their 


"dealing, the one of whom, George Askew, as he then 
"termed himself, being made priest at Douay in Flan- 
kers, is taken, as I understand, and lies prisoner in the 


"In the said seminary there is . . . one Christopher 
"Marlor (as he will be called), but yet for certainty his 
"name is Christopher ', sometime master in arts of Trinity 
"College in Cambridge ', of very low stature, well set, of a 
"black round beard? not yet priest? but to come over in the 
"mission of the next year ensuing. . . . 
"Pisa, 14 July." 

Over against this caterpillar Morley (or Parlor, as he 
will be called"*) of a black round beard, and obviously 
unknown to the Council, we may set ''Marley', later 
known to be intimate with Sir Walter Ralegh and with 
Sir Thomas Walsingham, cousin to Sir Francis Walsing- 
ham, the Queers Secretary and member of the Privy 
Council. Which of the two would be more likely in his 
University days to obtain such a certificate from the 
Council? Surely not the caterpillar of Trinity. 

Likelihood is all very well, but identification of the 
Christopher Morley named in the certificate with 
the poet Marlowe does not rest upon a balancing of 
probabilities. The proof is exclusive, made by point- 
ing out the chronological impossibility of any other 
explanation. Christopher Morley' here, as in the 
Coroner's inquisition, means Christopher Marlowe the 


Returning, we find that four facts emerge from the 
wording of the CounciPs certificate: 

(a) Marlowe had been employed as an agent in State 
affairs, probably abroad, and had performed his com- 
missions in a faithful and praiseworthy manner. 

(6) Certain persons had defamed him (what they said 
maybe approximated by turning the Council's language 
inside out), ignorantly reporting that he was disorderly 
in his behaviour and indiscreet in his actions. 

(c) Busy tongues had falsely given it out that he was 
to go to Rheims for a protracted stay. 

(d) The Council wished him nevertheless to receive 
his degree at Cambridge in July. 

The first two of these facts are of capital importance. 
All the official records heretofore discovered bearing 
on Marlowe have given him a doubtful, if not a defin- 
itely reprehensible character. The Middlesex Sessions 
bond of 1588 held him to appear c at the next Gaol 
Delivery 1 for some unspecified offence. On May 18, 
1593, he was summoned to appear before the Privy 
Council; and although the cause is unknown, it may 
well have been a charge of utterances suspiciously 
atheistical. The Kyd letters to Puckering, and the 
Bame libel both gave him a bad name on that score. 
Here for the first time, then, is an official pronounce- 
ment in favour of Marlowe, during his lifetime, praising 
him, in the names of Archbishop Whitgift, Sir Chris- 
topher Hatton, Lord Burghley, Lord Hunsdon, and 
Sir James Crofts, for his good service to the Queen, and 


denouncing the ill talk which was being circulated by his 

For the two latter items in the Council's letter (to wit, 
the denial of the projected emigration to Rheims, and 
the urging of his degree), doubtless the most plausible 
construction is the following. Marlowe's ill-wishers, 
taking the opportunity of his absence on State employ- 
ment, had indulged in gossip about him; had repre- 
sented to the University authorities that he was off to 
Rheims for good, and that for this and other reasons he 
should not receive his degree in July. Indeed the only 
probable cause for the drafting of such a certificate, it 
seems to rne, is that Marlowe, returning to Cambridge 
from his employment in the spring of 1587, had met 
a cold reception. So completely were the authorities 
turned against him that to obtain his degree at all he 
was constrained to ride up to London and apply to the 
Council for their all-powerful support. With their certi- 
ficate in his fist he returned and exacted his right from 
the Cambridge dons. 

From Professor Moore Smithes valuable investigation 37 
of the Bursar's accounts of Corpus Christi College it is 
plain that Marlowe's residence, during his last year at 
Cambridge, was quite broken. He was present for but 
half of his weeks in the second quarter. On Lady Day 
(March 25, 1587) his six years 1 scholarship came to an 
end, and for the last two quarters his name was omitted 
from the list altogether. Presumably, then, between 
February and July Marlowe was absent for some months 


in the service of Walsingham or some other member of 
the Council. Perhaps, as Dr. Moore Smith suggests, ''he 
had resided a few more weeks before taking his M.A. 
degree in July". 

What kind of business it was upon which the poet 
had been employed, every one may imagine for himself 
Since we know that he was intimate with the cousin of 
Walsingham, it is possible that the work had something 
to do with the secret services which were the Secretary's 
province. It will be remembered that Robert Poley, 
who was present with Marlowe, Skeres, and Frizer at 
the Deptford tavern, was doubtless the Poley used by 
Secretary Walsingham in 1586 to spy out the con- 
spiracy of Mary, Queen of Scots. 




provides the authoritative answer to the riddle of 
Marlowe's death. We know now that he was killed 
by a companion of his, one Ingram Frizer, gentleman, 
servant to Mr. Thomas Walsingham, in the presence 
of two witnesses, Robert Poley and Nicholas Skeres 
The testimony of these men before the Coroner's jury 
was that Marlowe attacked Frizer from behind, and this 
account was borne out to the satisfaction of the jury 
by the evidence of two wounds on Frizer's head. Frizer 
was pardoned, as having killed Marlowe in self-defence. 
It is important to remark that he did not forfeit the 
good graces of his employers, the Walsinghams, who 
were friends of the man whom he slew. 


Marlowe died instantly. This fact destroys most of 
the interest in Beard's account, which builds on the 
assumption that the poet died a more or less lingering 
death, in the course of which he ''cursed and blas- 
phemed to his last gaspe, and togither with his breath 
an oth flew out of his mouth'. More material to liter- 
ary history is the bearing of this fact upon the ques- 
tion of Chapman's continuation of Hero and Leander* 
Marlowe's c late desires', in accordance with which 
Chapman took up the poem, cannot be regarded any 
longer as a dying wish. After that mortal thrust, Mar- 
lowe had no time to make literary legacies. His ''late 
desires', if indeed there were any such, must have been 
communicated to Chapman in his active prime, before 
any thought of sudden death had corne to him. 

In the light of all we have learned of Ingram Frizer > 
his position with the Walsinghams, his property, and 
his associates, it is curious to read again the passage 
in Francis Meres's Palladis Tamia which runs, ^Chris- 
topher Marlow was stabd to death by a bawdy Seruing 
man, a riuall of his in his lewde loue\ Frizer was 
occupied with a suit in Chancery when Meres published 
this libel, or he might have made trouble for the ill- 
informed and imaginative author. 

The second part of the paper makes an important 
addition to our knowledge of Marlowe's university 
career, and to our ideas of how he was occupied just 
before entering upon his life in London. We can now 
picture Shakspere's great predecessor, supported by 


his former employers, the Privy Council, wresting his 
masters degree from the cold and hostile Cambridge 
authorities. Most interesting are the terms of praise 
which, by his services, the poet earned from Arch- 
bishop Whitgift, Lord Burghley, Lord Hunsdon, and 
the other great officers of England. These men knew 
him as discreet and useful for the secret purpose of 
Elizabethan government. For us, such a reputation is 
hardly more to his credit than the accusation of 'blas- 
phemy'' is to his discredit. To praise a man as a faith- 
ful and effective secret agent is to throw little more 
light on his moral nature than to damn him for a free- 




[No date.] 

sheweth unto yowr good Lordshipp yowr dailie 
Orators Anne Woodleff of Alisbury in the countie of Bucks 
widowe and D the saide Drue about 

fyve yeres nowe laste paste wantinge mony made requeste 
unto one Nicholas Skeres to be a the 

saide Drue his Bonde whoe knowinge that the saide Drue 
stoode in greate neede therof and beinge perswad 

any reasonable Bargaine he shoulde under- 
take ymparted the saide Drue his wante and meanes of 
performance as afore was by 

ymployinge his mony to usurie with requeste to the saide 
Fryser to helpe him the saide Drue to the some of 

saide Fryser (havinge a full purpose as by the 
sequell of his dealings maie appere) to undermynde and 
disceive the saide Drewe and kno 

into any unthriftie bargaine and havinge intelligence of 
the uttermoste tyme when the saide Drewe was to use his 
mony made Ix 11 made reddie 

agamste his tyme of need, uppon which as afore- 

saide yowr saide Orator did in deede seale and deliver to the 
unto him of Ix 11 at certaine Monethes 

after But nowe so it is if it maie please your good lordshipp 
that even at the very instante use his 

mony the saide Fryser toulde the saide Drewe that he had 


noe reddie mony but he woulde deliver the saide Drewe a 
comwoditie and for which he might e 

have threescore pounds (-which was a certayne nomber of 
gunnes or greate Iron peeces) which dealings of the saide 
Fryser drave yowr saide into extrem- 

itie as that he coulde not tell what meanes to make for 
mony but was inforced to take indeed what he coulde and 
accepted therof, and because your saide knewe 

not what course to take for his mony for them entreated 
the saide Fryser to helpe him to sell them for him as they 
were worthe which the saide Fryser woulde doe 

as for himselfe so that yowr Orator woulde promise him to 
be contente with what he shoulde doe therin (which he was 
fayne to doe) and then the saide Drewe as 

thoughe he woulde sell them, and not long after broughte 

yowr / Orator only Thirtie pounds protestinge that that was 

all that he coulde at that tyme gett for 
in truthe the saide peeces or gunnes were his owne and the 
xxx 11 he broughte his owne and never offered them to be 
soulde at all but lett them remayne uppon Tower Hill 

and more which xxx 11 only your saide Orator 
was compelled by suche meanes as aforesaide to take for 
Ix 11 his necessitie for use of mony was suche at that tyme: 
Nottherwzthall saide Fryser (perswadmge 

himselfe as it shoulde seeme that yowr poore Orator was a 
fitt man for him to worke uppon in respecte of his wante of 
monye wz'thoute anie science) farther 

combyned himselfe wzth the saide Skeres and perswaded 
wzth him the saide Skeres that he (in respecte of thaifeccton 
which he perceived your Orator did beare 
Skeres shoulde contrarie to the truthe affirme that he oughte 
to the saide Fryser xx tie marks in money and so procure 
your saide Orator to enter into Bonde lykewyse 


to paie unto him the saide twentie marks 
protestinge that when he the saide Fryser should Receive 
the same at yowr Orators hand he woulde paie it unto the 
saide Skeres effectinge the matche 

aforesaide wzth the saide Skeres at that tyme also broughte 
to passe And yowr saide Orators did then in deed seale and 
deliver to the saide Fryser marks for 

payment of Twentie marks unto the [saide] Fryser wz'thin 
one yere then nexte followinge in discharge of the saide 
supposed debte of the saide Skeres of 
ther was noe suche by the saide 

Skeres to the saide Fryser And farther the saide Fryser 
knowinge and perceivinge the then the 

saide Drue had not of his and his mothers 

estate within twoe Monethes (after the saide former 
matches) fell againe saide Drewe to 

gett somuche mony more as woulde 

make upp the foresaide somwes of Ix 11 and xx tle 

Orator in his then un- 

warie age And seemed willinge for effectinge therof) what 
the saide into a statute of cc 11 unto a 

gentleman of good worshipp the saide Fryser his then 

Maister wz'th Dephesants affermed that he had 

speciall reasons to moove him to have the same and all other 
maister wheruppon the saide Drue 
as afore expected the resceipte of the somwe of 

beinge (therin included in this saide 
Ix 11 and xx tle marks but alsoe in 
the lyke 

was of necessitie 



acknowledginge anye the matters or 

allegaczons by the sayde Complaynants or 

declared Sayeth that the saide Complaynants or eyther of 
them To the sayd the Defendaunte 

ought not by the Lawes of this Realme and due course 

Defendaunt For that the sayde 
Drwe WoodlieiFby the name of Drue 

att the tyme of the said bill exhybyted unto 
this Court was and yet 

Pleas of the Quene att Westminster in a plea of Debte att 

London the mundaye 
next after the Feast of thappostells of Phill 

majestyes Raigne as in and by the Records of 
the proces of Court of Comon 

pleas remayneinge And whereuppon the Quenes Writt of 
Capias utlaga Court of Comon pleas 

And hereunto affyled bearing Teste att Westminster the 
sixtent yeare of her heighnes 

Raigne directed to the Sheriffe of Myddlesex to apprehend 
Drwe Woodlieff by force of the out lawry e 
of the said Drwe aforesaide in the Plea aforesaide 

more at large appeare and is manifeste 
extent of Record And allsoe for that the said Anne Wood- 
leffe Anne WoodhefF late of London wydow 

att the tyme of the bill exhiby ted into this Court 

and standeth way ved in the sayd Court of Corn- 
won Pleas of the Quene at Westminster in a plea of 

the Suite of John Gabrye and John de la F. . trye 
in the Hustings of London the mundaye 

Feast of St Alphege Archbishopp in the nyne and 


1 The Theatre of Gods ludgements. Or, A Collection of Histories 
out of Sacred, Ecclesiasticall, and prophane Authours, concerning the 
admirable ludgements of God vpon the transgressours of his com- 
mandements. Translated out of French, and Augmented by more than 
three hundred Examples, by Th. Beard. 

2 Quoted from the Second Edition (1721), i, col. 338. 

8 The Gentleman's Magazine* January 1830, p. 6. The find, how- 
ever, was first published (obviously also by Broughton) in Kenrick's 
British Stage and Literary Cabinet, v. (January 1821), p. 22, over 
the signature 'Dangle, Jun.'. 

4 The Case of Francis Ingram.* Sydney University Publications, 
No. 5, pp. 3-8, 

5 Chancery Miscellanea, Bundle 64, File 8, No. 241a. 

* The verge was an area of twelve miles round the body of the 
sovereign, in which the officers of the royal household temporarily 
supplanted the local authorities in their duties. 

7 Chancery Miscellanea. Bundle 64, File 8, No. 2416. 

* Patent Rolls 1401. 

9 Subsidies 127/529. 

10 Subsidies 127/566, 125/305, 249/8. 

11 Subsidies 142/234. 

18 Hasted's History of Kent, edited by Henry H. Drake, 1886, p. 41. 

13 Close Rolls 1339. 

14 Ibid. 

15 Exchequer Plea Rolls 381. 

16 Exchequer Plea Rolls 396. 

17 Exchequer Plea Rolls 394. 

18 See page 69. 

10 Close Rolls 1520; C.P. 25, 38 Eliz., Easter, Bucks; Patent Rolls. 

* Close Rolls 1578; C.P. 25, 40 Eliz., Easter, Bucks; Patent Rolls 

81 L.C.4/192,p.267. 

88 Public Record Office, Index 6801. 

** State Papers, Domestic, Addenda James I., xl. 46. 


24 Index 6801. 

25 Close Rolls 1711. 

26 Subsidies 127/566. 

27 Hasted's History of Kent (1886), p. 21 1 . 

28 Historical Manuscripts Commission, Salisbury Manuscripts, v, 

29 Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, xxxn. 130. 

30 Bodl. MS. Tanner 78/116. A poorer copy is Ashmole 830/4. 
81 Bodl. Rawl. D264/1. A variant is B.M. MS. Add. 33,938/22. 
33 State Papers, Domestic, Elizabeth, cxchi. 52. 

as privy Council Registers, Elizabeth, vi, 3816. Public Record 

84 Grace Book A, University of Cambridge* edited by John Venn 
(1910), p. 517. 

88 Historical MSS. Comm., Salisbury MSS., xii (1910), 211, 212. 

37 Marlowe at Cambridge, Modern Language Review, January 
1909, pp. 174, 175. 

38 Chancery Proceedings, Elizabeth. Bundle W.25, No. 43.